Hands-On Preview: Clay’s Reverie

What is it with cute creatures always finding themselves in extreme danger on iOS? We’ve seen a little ball bearing get zapped by lasers in Magnetic Baby, a little fish skewered on sharp rocks in Mighty Fin, and a little whatchamacallit vaporized by lava in Up and Up! Here to continue the tradition in fine form is Super Glue Studio, who are bringing us a game about a little ball of clay that’s taking a very perilous ride on a conveyor belt. Clay’s Reverie is a finalist at China’s Third Annual Indie Games Festival, and regardless of whether the devs take home the prize, they’ll surely find a receptive audience on a platform where pick-up-and-play is king.

The conveyor belt Clay’s found himself on passes through a complex network of buzz saws and drill bits, so getting him safely from one end of the conveyor to the other takes some ingenuity and quick reaction skills on the player’s part. Tilting the iDevice makes Clay roll right or left, allowing him to back away from or slip past dangers the conveyor’s automatic scroll would normally ram him into. Touching and holding at the conveyor itself allows the entire thing to be raised or lowered, giving Clay a free range of motion when the tilt and drag are combined.

What’s most exciting about Clay’s Reverie are the little ball’s transformations. If he gets close enough to a power-up to gulp it down, he can morph into a rock that crushes any obstacle in its path; a cucumber that can’t do much but slips through tight spaces easily; a bomb that destroys the next object it strikes; and, more exotically, a rabbit in a bubble that slows down time. As levels become more complex, the player will be gunning it for one power-up after another to get Clay through the next segment.

It’s become clear from our time with Clay so far that the developers are bending over backward to make this one accessible to casual gamers and yet challenging enough for hardcore action fans. The player has to have eyes everywhere; focus on that set of drills rotating like a windmill just ahead and you could miss the ones sitting right underneath Clay at the same moment. Thankfully Clay has a few spare lives, so the player gets reset to a checkpoint until they’re used up. The build we played defaults to “Slow” mode, which already offers quite a challenge, but the player can pump up the conveyor’s speed in the world select menu.

We’ll have more on this cute casual challenger as it nears release. For now, keep an eye on the developer’s Twitter account and Facebook page for the latest news!